In Good Faith: 'Do things without any expectation of anything in return'

abredeson@islandpacket.com April 25, 2014 

John Clark of Callawassie Island is the vice president of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church council.

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    In Good Faith features people making a difference in their congregations or the community. Email suggestions to features writer Amy Coyne Bredeson at abredeson@islandpacket.com.

Name: John Clark

Congregation: Lord of Life Lutheran Church

Town: Callawassie Island

Member for: 10 years

Activity in church: I am vice president of the council. I also help with the building program, as one of the co-leaders. I'm now leading the "Growing in Faith" ongoing fund drive that we use to support special projects. And I'm the council liaison to the finance committee. It's good to be involved. I enjoy it. I try and stay in the background. That's why I'm a little hesitant in talking to people about what I do.

A mission church. Lord of Life, under Pastor Heiliger's tutelage, has been a real community-minded church, I would say. His attitude, which is the attitude of the congregation, is that building should be occupied all the time, if not by that church, another church, or if not another church, a nonprofit. It is truly a mission church, and it has worked that way. We have a Hispanic congregation, which has used our church for their worship. They intertwine with us. They help with maintenance. They help plan the church picnic. We have a good outreach to the Hispanic congregation in that regard. We have a number of early morning Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that meet there. We support a Boy Scout troop. It's a nice church. It's got its vision and its focus in the right direction.

Habitat for Humanity. I volunteer substantially at Habitat for Humanity. I'm known as "the porch guy." We did 10 houses in Ridgeland, and I probably oversaw most of the 20 porches that were built. I probably worked on maybe 30 of the houses in Brendan Woods. ... I helped build the Habitat ReSale store. I try and give back a lot of time to the community. You know, as you've been blessed, you've got to pass it out a little bit. A lot of people need housing, and it's a great way to give them a hand up instead of a handout. I think it's a great program. I spend a lot of time doing that, and I'm just a regular guy that likes to stay involved in stuff, make things a little bit better. But that's it. I'm nobody special.

Retirement. We (Clark and his wife, Rose) are enjoying our retirement. I guess I haven't punched the clock since I was 48. I've already had my retirement. I'm 65. ... I keep going, Energizer bunny. I enjoy giving back. I used to be a teacher. I taught math, coached football way in the earlier days, early '70s. But then I turned to banking and continued to help people in a small community bank. I realized there was a lot of need out there, and you count your blessings. I think I sort of rely on that in my retirement. I'm never sitting doing nothing. Always either fixing somebody's toilet, somebody's fan or fixing somebody's something on the island here.

Give-back opportunities. We tore down and built up this elderly lady's home, which was basically condemned. No one else would touch it. I think those are important core give-back opportunities. It's all pay it forward. It's doing things without any expectation of anything in return. I think it's very hard for human nature to do that kind of thing. If you can do it and people didn't even know you did it, that's more satisfying, to me anyway.

Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.

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